E-Alerts & Press Releases

Kick off the 2018 General Assembly session and rally for earned sick days

January 10, 2018: The 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly begins today, and we invite you to join us in raising our voices for justice! Our communities are strongest when all people have opportunities to make a living, stay healthy, and keep a roof over their heads. But too often, our society puts up barriers that make it difficult for people to meet their basic needs and enforce their rights.

Over the next 90 days, we’ll be in Annapolis advocating for laws that dismantle those barriers. We’ll keep you in the loop with updates via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Stay tuned for opportunities to contact your legislators or rally with us in Annapolis. We’ll also be active on legislation considered by the Baltimore City Council and will let you know about this as well. Together we can pass laws that bring us closer to building communities where everyone has what they need to thrive.

Here are snapshots of just a handful of the bills we’ll be working on:

Healthy Working Families Act

By expanding access to earned sick and safe leave, more Marylanders will be able to take the time they need when they or a loved one are sick without fear of losing their jobs. We’ll be working to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of last year’s bill. Join us to rally in Annapolis on Thursday, January 11, at 10 am.

Rent Court Reform  

Tenants are often at a disadvantage when they face landlords in rent court. This year, we’ll bring back reform legislation in the General Assembly to help tenants get a fair shake when their homes are on the line. Our proposals will give rent court judges statewide grounds to dismiss cases in which the landlord cannot show a valid lead certificate for the property. This would end the existing law that says lead risk is not “an issue of fact at trial” in rent court cases. We will also push for new scheduling requirements in rent court, so that Baltimore City renters receive a summons for rent court at least seven days before trial and that renters across the state can seek postponements of up to seven days to develop a claim or defense. We think legislators will agree that giving renters adequate time before an eviction trial to ask their employer for a shift change, find a babysitter, or obtain free legal services is the right thing to do.

And in the Baltimore City Council, we’ll be supporting a bill requiring that all landlords are licensed and pass an annual inspection to ensure that the homes they rent are safe and up to code.

Access to Maryland Courts Act

When Maryland state or local government violates a person’s rights under the Maryland Constitution, the victim has a dilemma. These cases are complicated and expensive, and most people could not afford a lawyer to vindicate their rights. The victim could bring a case in federal court in Greenbelt or Baltimore, because federal judges can order the losing government to pay the attorney fees if the victim wins. But not in Maryland courts. This bill would allow a court to award attorney’s fees to someone who successfully enforced their rights under the Maryland Constitution. The bill is important to help Marylanders find lawyers to represent them in local courts in their own communities when important state constitutional rights are involved.

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